Internet of Things – “The next big buzz”

Internet of things (IoT) refers to an environment where a group of objects and devices containing embedded electronics and software and are interconnected over network. The interlinked smart objects can process and exchange data. This new technology accelerates a faster and better tomorrow. The IoT technology when augmented with advanced sensors and circuits helps in achieving connectivity between physical world and computer based systems.

What does IoT connect?

Things” connected by Internet of Things can refer to a plethora of objects and systems in today’s technical world. They can be sensors, heart implant devices, Automobiles, Smartphone, DNA analysis devices, television, machineries etc. Till date, IoT is found to be implemented for only machine to machine connectivity. This list continues to expand as the IoT experts continue to develop advanced technologies. Experts are of the opinion that IoT will encompass around 50 billion objects in its network by 2020.

Types and categories

Based on enabling technologies, IoT can be classified as

  • RFID and near field communication

  • Optical tags and quick response codes

  • Low energy Bluetooth

Based on mode of implementation, IoT is further classified into

  • Wearable

  • Media

  • Home automation

  • Industrial automation

  • Smart appliances

Incredible abilities of IoT

Internet of Things is definitely set to change the world we live in and there is no looking back on that. There are many practical world examples to demonstrate the manifold uses of IoT. Few are listed below:

1. Smart cars with traffic optimization, driving directions and the ability to communicate with other smart cars.

2. Wearable devices that can track your daily activities, level of fitness, synchronize with your calendar and remind meeting schedules.

3. Baby monitors that provide parents with real time information about baby activities, body temperature and activities directly to Smartphone.

4. Ingestible pills relay information about human digestive systems and impact of medicines on the patient to a system stationed outside.

5. Intelligent shopping systems track user’s preferences and provide suggestions along with price details and location.

6. Various energy management and transportation systems are also embracing IoT for smarter execution.

7. IoT helps in monitoring and planning of city’s infrastructure. It monitors the change in structural conditions and also provides statistics on the infrastructure usage.

8. Smart industrial systems are increasingly being integrated with energy monitoring mechanism to provide and efficient and energy optimized production.

What does the future look like?

Experts and industrial giants are of the opinion that the future looks brighter day by day. Currently there are few controversies over the chances of security breach and autonomy if IoT is implemented. It could also result in manifold increase of waste disposal. However one cannot deny the fact that IoT is the giant among all technical advancements taking place. It has already started impacting the way we live. With more devices joining in, IoT promises to solve many problems. Future holds a lot of opportunities and challenges for humankind to explore and innovate.

phone cameraThe smartphone era has brought drastic improvement in the quality of photos being taken. With high pixel cameras, added with zooming feature, these photos were considered the best. 

But, of late, the advent of dual camera technology had proven that photos taken using smartphones can be better in terms of quality and precision.  The technology uses a combined output of two camera lenses to give a more precise, clear and crisp image.

The Game-Changing Technology

Corephotonics, a two year Israeli company had brought this concept a couple of years ago, which could revolutionize the concept of the future smartphone photography. The technology became hot topic in the mobile sector.

At present, the dual camera system possibly works only on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 platform. This platform has signal processors for two images from both cameras and processes them simultaneously to give a final result.

The results are gained from two lenses with individual sensors- a side-angled lens and a telephoto lens. The data from both the lenses are processed by onboard software to give the final image. The processing will include comparison of images from both lenses and detecting the pixels that are off and use a comparatively clearer pixel for the picture.

Differential weightage is given to one or the other lenses based on the choice of zoom by the user. A 3x zoom is made possible for stills and 5x zoom for 1080p HD videos.

The dual camera is designed to provide quality shots even in low light areas with four times the resolution of what can be achieved with ordinary smartphones. The resultant image from both cameras will be significantly sharper while it is zoomed in. There is also less signal disruption compared to the digital zooms used at present. 

With the Corephotonics technology, phones are going to remain slim, but will deliver better image results. The only aspect that reportedly requires attention is the processing power of the phone. In order for the system to work perfectly, phones are supposed to have decent processing power, but it doesn’t have to be too excessive. 

The system enables keeping noise to minimum with its telephoto lens removed, hence taking black and white pictures. With more light coming in, the fidelity of the image is increased. The wide angle component still restores the color as it is, taking in all real aspects into the picture.

The dual technology captures HDR images in one shot, unlike others that takes three different shots. The usual motion blur from HRD shots is eliminated by this feature. All the processing is done in real time, avoiding discernible lags. With two cameras, focusing is also improved.

Corephotonics has developed and made this technology available for mobile users. The 13 megapixel sensor is directly available from Sony. The phones with dual camera lens will come with a slight premium for the extra lens. But there is still debate about whether or not the dual lens camera phones can compete with phones that use high pixel single lens camera.

Virtual reality has in the last few years become a familiar word. With 3D and 4D experiences, people are well versed with the concept and experience of virtual reality. Augmented reality, on the other hand, is still a little unfamiliar. The tech world is of course abuzz with it and there is constant research and development to improve and increase the involvement of augmented reality in our everyday lives

Are augmented reality and virtual reality the same thing?

The first and most common misconception is that augmented reality is the same or similar to virtual reality. Virtual reality is about showing the user an alternate virtual world, whereas augmented reality enhances and adds information to the world you are seeing be it virtual or real.

Augmented reality has the potential to change the face of technology, much like smartphones, when they first came in to the scene. A smartphone is like our personal remote control to a vast galaxy of data and augmented reality is much the same. As of now, augmented reality is nascent, but soon it will make its way into our lives and before we know it will become essential.

The drawback for augmented reality, as of now, is the logistics of the equipment one can use to run it. Though a smartphone can offer the platform, it’s not the ideal equipment to relay augmented information, whereas glasses would probably make a better fit (like they do for virtual reality).

There are prototype augmented reality glasses available in the market today that provide a glimpse of the future of this technology, but there is a great deal of potential for these model glasses to become more slender, more inexpensive and more user friendly.

Where does it fit?

Augmented reality will make its best fit in the virtual world for starters. The video game sector, in particular, has been the perfect entry point for augmented reality and it has already got its footprint in that segment.

Augmented reality has several benefits in other sectors too. Augmented and virtual reality together can provide assistance in quality control and training. There are prototype applications that allow optimizing of logistics and packing of inventory. The packer can find out size and weight of the boxes along with suggestions on the best position to optimally load the inventory.

There is also an augmented reality application that is intended to help the visually impaired and provide them with better mobility.

Training and maintenance are augmented/virtual reality technology can bring about a big change. So much money is spent on training, not just in terms of time, but materials too. It can help improve assembly line efficiency by training technicians virtually. Augmented/virtual reality applications can elevate workouts and provide better feedback and motivation for workout fanatics. A virtual classroom with augmented information will provide a unique learning experience for future generations, both at school and graduate levels.

The future possibilities are limitless. Augmented reality can change not just the face of technology but also how we perceive and use it. From education to employment, health and fitness to entertainment, augmented/virtual reality is poised to dive in and change the way we live.